Los Angeles County Hall of Records | Los Angeles Conservancy
Los Angeles County Hall of Records
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Los Angeles County Hall of Records

The Los Angeles County Hall of Records at the corner of West Temple Street and North Broadway is monumental in scale, projecting a definite sense of bureaucratic diligence in the civic heart of downtown Los Angeles. The T-shaped high-rise features intact marble and wood interiors, long aluminum louvers on the south façade, a massive decorative ceramic screen, a mosaic of glass tile and granite, and tall aluminum "spider legs" outside the roof cafeteria. This last detail is a signature feature of celebrated architect Richard Neutra, who designed the Hall of Records with his associate Robert Alexander.

The 1962 building is a very rare example of a Neutra high-rise, as he is far better known for his extensive residential work. It was originally conceived of as two buildings, one for employees and one for storage records, but was combined into one plan incorporating a windowless storage wing and a carefully planned employee wing. The architects were very concerned with worker well-being and went so far as to consult an ophthalmologist on ideal lighting levels. Today, of course, the windowless wing is as full of workers as the other wing and most records have been moved off site, except for those in the extensive network of subterranean tunnels.

The building's most notable elements are its exterior decorations, which marked a new, less minimalist style of Modernism. Potter Malcolm Leland was largely responsible, as he encouraged Neutra and Alexander to merge art with architecture and collaborated with Gladding-McBean to create the Hall of Records' eight-story screen of extruded terra cotta. Joseph Young's exterior mosaic depicting water sources and geological features of the county, another remarkable embellishment, was recently restored.

Photo by John O'Neill on Wikimedia Commons

Beverly Hills Civic Center

Nestled in the heart of Beverly Hills sits its Spanish Renaissance City Hall, serving as both the political and emotional backbone of one of America's most storied cities.
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Kona Kai Apartments

Rosemead Boulevard, from Pasadena to Pico Rivera and beyond, contains an unusually intact assortment of exuberant architectural styles including the Kona Kai, in San Gabriel, which falls right in line as a proud example of midcentury Tiki tradition.
Photo by Michael Locke

Wells Fargo Center

A twist on the Corporate International "glass box" design, the towers, completed in 1983, have parallelogram-shaped bases with sharp angles soaring into the sky while trees, fountains, and rough-hewn granite give the atrium a park-like atmosphere.